Tag Archives: Antivirus

AntiVirus Software Review Product Comparisons

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Antivirus Software review

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Why Buy Antivirus Software?

\r\nToday, an unprotected computer isn’t just vulnerable, it’s probably already infected. New viruses, spyware, trojans, worms, and other malware are created every day. New threats are disguised to bypass other security measures, and specifically designed to catch you and your PC off guard.\r\n\r\nThe virus landscape has also changed; viruses that used to be annoying pranks have evolved into pernicious threats capable of not only destroying your computer, but stealing your information and identity.\r\n\r\nThe benefits of installing a basic security solution on your PC are obvious, but the cost in system slowdown used to make it tough to bear. Luckily, modern antivirus software haven’t just improved their level of protection, they’ve significantly improved resource efficiency and overall speed. You can have ultimate protection without giving up your resources. With advanced technologies and straightforward usability, antivirus software is more effective than ever, and doesn’t require constant maintenance from you. Say goodbye to annoying security warnings and noticeable slowdown; current antivirus programs deliver constant protection and can actually speed up your computer.\r\n\r\nThe last generation of antivirus software brought advanced heuristic detection into the mix. Continuing to improve, the 2011 lineup of antivirus products often incorporate further developed proactive protection with better behavior checking and even file reputation analysis. Several of the software incorporate ‘in the cloud’ security and other advanced technologies to increase safety and convenience. From gamer modes, to battery saving settings, to integrated web link scanners; antivirus applications are more versatile and have upped the ante for features and functionality.\r\n\r\nOn antivirus software review site you’ll find a side-by-side comparison of the best antivirus software, helpful articles on computer security, security tips and tricks, buying guides, videos, and comprehensive reviews to help you make an informed decision on which security software is right for you.\r\n

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What to Look For in Antivirus Software

\r\nAll security software is not created equal. Like all consumer products, antivirus software has the good, the bad, and the mediocre. The choices for antivirus protection are many and varied. Although we haven’t reviewed each and every product available, we feature the absolute best antivirus software available today from a number of providers (including big-hitters, lesser-knowns, and new-comers), and compare them so you can match your needs with the right software.\r\n\r\nRemember when it really comes down to it, effectiveness and usability can either make or break antivirus software. Security programs are only as good as their level of protection, and if you can’t figure out how to use it, you won’t. Our top-ranked antivirus software combine optimal security with user-friendly features and tools.\r\n\r\nBelow are the criteria TopTenREVIEWS uses to evaluate and compare antivirus software:\r\n\r\nScope of Protection\r\nWhile most security solutions tout “multi-layered” protection, “360 degree” defense and/or even “100%” security, some are certainly more thorough than others. The best antivirus solutions will include traditional protection from viruses, worms, Trojans and spyware, but should also include defense from keyloggers, phishing scams, email-borne threats and rootkits. While antivirus programs are by no means full-blown internet security suites, they should protect from as many threats on as many fronts as they can.\r\n\r\nEffectiveness\r\nAntivirus is specifically designed to protect your computer, so if it doesn’t do that well, what good is it? All the features, bells and whistles, or sleek interface can’t make up for poor performance. We look at results from the industry-standard security software testers and professional security organizations to find the most effective software available and evaluate overall effectiveness. In general, our highest ranked programs are also the most effective.\r\n\r\nEase of Installation and Setup\r\nSecurity software shouldn’t be a chore to install, and should have you protected as soon as possible. From download to install, to the first scan; implementing antivirus software should be quick and easy.\r\n\r\nEase of Use\r\nAntivirus software is complex stuff, but shouldn’t require a degree in computer security. The best security programs have all the features security experts want, but are just as easily used by a beginner. Everyday computer users want a security solution that they can install and forget about; software that doesn’t require constant maintenance or have annoying interruptions. The best antivirus software is flexible enough to do exactly what you want to (even if that means running by itself).\r\n\r\nFeatures\r\nA well-rounded feature set takes a security solution from good to great. More than bells and whistles, added features provide security, usability and performance benefits.\r\n\r\nUpdates\r\nSecurity software is only as good as its latest update. Viruses are being identified and added to signature databases all the time, so it’s important that your virus definition list updates accordingly. Modern antivirus software are equipped with automatic updates that perform regularly enough that you get faster updates that don’t slow down your system. The best security providers even “push” updates to you as soon as they’re available.\r\n\r\nHelp & Support\r\nThe best software doesn’t require reading an in-depth manual to use, but still has one available. For specific questions, troubleshooting, and additional help, the best antivirus manufacturers provide superior product support online and off. Additional support for software may come in the form of assistance over the phone, email, live chat, or through a number of additional resources (knowledgebase, FAQs, tutorials).\r\n\r\nA well-balanced antivirus solution is effective, efficient, and easy to use. Combining all the right features with a usable interface; our top antivirus software choices deliver the best security and usability without a serious investment in time, money, or system resources.

Worm or Virus – What is the Difference?

\r\n\r\nEveryone has been infected with a virus at one time or another either through the common cold or the flu. A virus attacks the human body by entering through one of the many openings and attaching itself to a host cell. It releases a piece of genetic information into the cell and recruits the cell’s enzymes to propagate the genetic information. Once the genetic code has been adequately replicated, it destroys the cell and attacks cells nearby.\r\n\r\nHow does a computer virus simulate a biological virus? Just as a biological virus injects its own genetic information into a cell and interferes with the body’s normal operations, a computer virus is a program written to interfere with the proper functioning of a computer. It may damage programs, delete files, reformat hard disks and perform other forms of destructive acts.\r\n\r\nTo be classified as a virus, a program must meet two criteria. It must be able to execute itself by placing its own code in the execution path of another program. The program must also be able to replicate itself by replacing existing computer files with copies of the virus-infected files. Similar to the way a biological virus requires a host cell, a computer virus requires an infected host file to propagate itself.\r\n\r\nViruses have become the villains of the computer world, propagating themselves and destroying everything in their path. However, another tool of destruction, known as the worm, has been creeping into the computer industry. Most of us have heard of the dreaded Blaster worm that attacks Microsoft websites, but what exactly is a worm and how does it differ from a virus? Actually, a worm is a type of virus that attacks the computer in a method differing from the way a typical virus attacks a computer. Unlike the typical virus, the worm does not require a host program to propagate. A worm enters a computer through a weakness in the computer system and propagates itself using network flaws.\r\n\r\nThe typical virus requires activation through user intervention, such as double clicking or sending outgoing email. However, a worm releases a document containing the “worm” macro and sends copies of itself to other computers through network flaws, therefore bypassing any need for user intervention.\r\n\r\nSo, what can you do to protect your computer from virus infection? There are a number of preventative measures that you can take. For example, you can purchase and continually update virus scan software. Make sure that this software contains the “real-time” scanning feature which monitors all incoming and outgoing mail. You may also install a firewall which prohibits unauthorized access to your computer. By installing these preventative devices, you can proactively defend against viruses.\r\n

References:

\r\nAOL.com: What’s the Difference Between Viruses, Worms, and Trojans? (2005).\r\n\r\n Phoenix. CastleCops.biz: What is the Difference Between Viruses, Worms, and Trojans? (2003.)\r\n\r\nSullivan, Rob. SearchEnginePosition.com: The Difference Between Viruses and Worms. SEP. (2004)\r\n\r\nSymantec.com: What is the Difference Between Viruses, Worms, and Trojans? Symantec Corporation. (2005).

Top Rogue Scanners to Avoid

Fake Antivirus scanners, or Rogue scanners come in many forms. Many alter the properties of your browser window to make it look like a legitimate program, when in reality, it’s just a browser window. Others, executed via active-x, script or injected via a Virus, will actually look like a running program. These programs have a single goal, and that is to trick the user into actually installing the program. Once installed, the effects range from annoying to devastating. These programs will produce false alerts telling the user that there is a virus, pornography, and other items on their computer. It then has a fix it button. Once pushed, they are directed to pay a certain amount of money for a solution that never happens.\r\n\r\nSome of these rogue programs are unusually deceiving. Programs like Antivirus 360, use the name 360 because the targeted user may believe that it is directly related to Norton 360. Others use names that lead people to believe that they are legitimate. They even go as far as using an exact replica of Microsoft’s Security center, producing an image like the one below.\r\n

\r\nNotice under “Virus Protection” there is a listing for one of the most common Rogue programs. Here, they want you to click on those buttons, ultimately obtaining your credit card and money from you, with no actual solution to your problem.\r\nHere is a list we have compiled of the Top Ten Rogue Antispyware programs to watch out for, and a description of each one and their tactics. There is actually a very long list, but here are the most commonly seen rogue programs in our experience.\r\n

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  1. Antispyware XP 2009 – Uses a replica of the Microsoft Security Center, as pictured above. Antivirus 2009 comes in many names, including Antivirus 2008, Antivirus XP/Vista and Antivirus XP 2009, XP Antispyware 2009
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  3. Antivirus 360
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  5. WinCleaner 2009
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  7. Malware Doctor
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  9. Spyware XP Guard
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  11. Spyware Remover 2009
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  13. Total Protect 2009/Total Defender/Total Security
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  15. Virus Shield 2009/Virus Shield Pro
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  17. Windows Security Suite
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  19. WinAntivirus XP/Vista
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\r\nShould you come across one of these programs on your system, we highly recommend that you get it removed as quickly as possible. It has been our experience that the longer they stay on the computer, the worse the damage gets.\r\n\r\nBy: Josh Borglund, Toptenreviews

Antivirus and anti-malware protection

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There are many different antivirus and anti-malware protection programs available, ranging in price from free, to several hundred dollars, depending upon their sophistication and scope of use. It is critically important that anyone that connects to the internet has adequate protection against possible infections by viruses, trojans, worms, and various malware that circulate so prolifically these days.\r\n\r\nThere is an adage that says, “If a little bit is good, then a lot is better”. However, in the case of virus protection, this is normally not true (in fact, in my experience, NEVER). Although it may be permissible to run more than one anti-malware protection program at a time, one should have only one antivirus program operating at any given time. There are reasons for this.\r\n\r\nTwo different AV programs will often conflict, seeing each other as a virus, because of the nature of their operation. Thus, when one program succeeds in stifling the activities of the other, a window of opportunity for an actual virus may be created. More often, each will manage to limit the effectiveness of the other, thus creating a weakness that can be exploited. “Loops” can be created, wherein two AV programs will endlessly fight each other for control of a given function, leaving that function effectively unprotected. More is NOT better!\r\n\r\nOne should select their protection carefully, giving thought to the particular sorts of risks they make themselves vulnerable to by their surfing style. As a member of many web professional forums, I prefer to make my selection, after hearing the recommendations of others. I also have found that for my purposes, there is no need to purchase such a program.\r\n\r\nThere are a number of very effective AV programs, written and maintained by reputable organizations, that can be downloaded and installed at no charge. I presently use Avast, which I feel to be on a par with Avira, in terms of effectiveness in the AV realm. Both also offer enhanced versions for purchase, and have products that specialize in other levels of protection. Kaspersky is another system that has an excellent track record for protection.\r\n\r\nMost such products offer a free evaluation period, up to a month, to see if their program does the job you want. I usually warn people away from such evaluation periods, however, simply because some such programs are difficult to remove completely (Symantec’s Norton is one that’s notoriously difficult to get rid of) from your system.\r\n\r\nThere are a few things that should be remembered, when searching for the best AV program for your system:\r\n

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  • NO AV program is perfect! Some are better than others, but new exploits are released almost daily, and your protection is only as good as its relevancy. If it updates virus definitions weekly, then you may be vulnerable to new viruses for several days between updates.
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  • The sort of experts that are capable of developing protection against viruses have their doppelgangers on the other side of the coin… those that develop the viruses to begin with. Both are good at what they do, and at any given moment, one will be a step ahead of the other.
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  • Realtime scanning is an important feature to seek in your AV protection. Scanning emails and downloads is important, but viruses and malware can be activated by the simple act of clicking on a text link, an image or opening an attachment. Just entering a page can enable an infection, without sufficient protection.
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  • The best AV protection available cannot do the job alone. YOU have to take an active part in protecting your system. If you frequent poor reputation sites, hang out in “bad neighborhoods”, the infection of your computer is made much more probable, regardless of the AV protection you run.
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\r\nAV protection is only one aspect of protection. A reliable firewall and adequate anti-spyware protection are other important protections that should be considered. I suggest you investigate what security bloggers and forum members have to say about the AV protection they have used or are using. A satisfied customer is always a good reference. Seofast

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